Two Men Claim South Florida Priests Molested Them Decades Ago

October 1, 2009

[with video]

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. (WSVN) -- Two men have come forward with accusations they were molested decades ago by two priests who are no strangers to scandal.

Lawyers announced the lawsuit outside the Archdiocese of Miami Wednesday afternoon. "These men have lived their lives believing they were the only ones. They have blamed themselves. They have lost families. They have lost jobs. They have lost generations of their lives because of what happened to them," attorney Jessica Arbour said.

The lawsuits place the blame on Father Neil Flemming, named in both suits, and Father Neil Doherty, in only one of the suits. The two men filing the suits, now 57 and 60, said they were sexually assaulted as teens in the 1960s. One of the victims claims he was abused by Flemming. "He gave us some rum and Cokes, and that evening he did some stuff he just shouldn't have done," said the unidentified victim.

Also named in the suit, Boystown of Florida. 7 News contacted the South Florida chapter, and they said back in the 60s their group was not around.

The Archdiocese of Miami released a statement saying: "Both Father Neil Doherty and Father Neil Flemming retired in 2002 without faculties. They are not permitted to wear clerical garb, celebrate the sacraments or have an assignment."

"It's time the Archdiocese of Miami be held accountable, no matter how long ago this happened," said Arbour.

The two fathers are no strangers to scandal. In 2003, the Broward State Attorney's Office said the Archdiocese knew of sexual abuse allegations against Father Doherty while keeping him on the job, and in 2004, Father Flemming settled a different lawsuit.

Now protesters are saying give this lawsuit a chance. "What we're saying to them is allow these cases to go forward. Allow these cases to go forward on their merits," Barbara Dorris said.

There is one thing working in favor of Boystown of Florida and the Archdiocese of Miami and against the two men in this case: in their lawsuit the statute of limitations is off by a matter of decades.


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